Mary Connynge stirred softly under her deep cloak. Her head was lifted slightly, the curve of cheek and chin showing in the light that fell from the little lamp. The masses of her dark hair lay piled about her face, tumbled by the sweeping of her hood. Her eyes showed tremulously soft and deep now as he looked into them. Her little hands half twitched a trifle from her lap and reached forward and upward. Primitive she might have been, wicked she was, sinfully sweet; and yet she was woman. It was with the voice of tears that she spoke, if one might claim vocalization for her speech.
“Have I not come?” whispered she.
“By God! Mary Connynge, yes, you have come!” cried Law. And though there was heartbreak in his voice, it sounded sweet to the ear of her who heard it, and who now reached up her arms about his neck.
“Ah, John Law,” said Mary Connynge, “when a woman loves—when a woman loves, she stops at nothing!”
IF THERE WERE NEED
Time wore on in the ancient capital of England. The tramp of troops echoed in the streets, and the fleets of Britain made ready to carry her sons over seas for wars and for adventures. The intrigues of party against party, of church against church, of Parliament against king; the loves, the hates, the ambitions, the desires of all the city’s hurrying thousands went on as ever. Who, then, should remember a single prisoner, waiting within the walls of England’s jail? The hours wore on slowly enough for that prisoner. He had faced a jury of his peers and was condemned to face the gallows. Meantime he had said farewell to love and hope and faithfulness, even as he bade farewell to life. “Since she has forsaken me whom I thought faithful,” said he to himself, “why, let it end, for life is a mockery I would not live out.” And thenceforth, haggard but laughing, pale but with unbroken courage, he trod on his way through his few remaining days, the wonder of those who saw him.
As for Mary Connynge, surely she had matters enough which were best kept secret in her own soul. While Lady Catharine was hoping, and praying, and dreaming and believing, even as the roses left her cheek and the hollows fell beneath her eyes, she saw about her in the daily walks of life Mary Connynge, sleek and rounded as ever. They sat at table together, and neither did the one make sign to the other of her own anxiety, nor did that other give sign of her own treachery. Mary Connynge, false guest, false friend, false woman, deceived so perfectly that she left no indication of deceit. She herself knew, and blindly satisfied herself with the knowledge, that she alone now came close into the life of “Beau” Law, the convict; “Jessamy” Law, the student, the financier, the thinker; John Law, her lord and master. Herein she found the sole compensation possible in her savage nature. She had found the master whom she sought!